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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

My LGS was selling a used - like new in box S&W 438 revolver for $299.95 + tax. I liked the offer and bought it.

Later, I learned that S&W has discontinued production of this gun. Any ideas why? Any history of quality / mechanical issues? Did I buy a lemon?

The revolver looks just like the one on this link:

http://www.redstradingpost.net/auct...-Wesson-438-Airweight-38-Spl-(163438)-004.gif

Your input will be appreciated...


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There were common complaints with the long hard double action trigger pull, and the action "sticking." Also some reported timing issues.
 

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The answer to the question isn't simple.

Nothing stays in production forever. There are literally millions of products that have been produced and discontinued. S&W makes no exception to that rule. Gun models come and go. If they didn't, the companies would go broke carrying stock on guns that may never sell. It's simply supply and demand.
It doesn't make a gun good or bad. It's just a product of the times.
You got a S&W revolver for a great price. Enjoy it, shoot it and keep it clean. It'll last for generation yet to come.
You got it for an excellent price without any doubts. A deal that good may never cross your path again for a very long time.


There were common complaints with the long hard double action trigger pull, and the action "sticking." Also some reported timing issues.
These complaint aren't just with the model 438, they seem to occur over every handgun platform produced.

Long trigger pull is common to DAO handguns, period. Not just revolvers. Handguns have had this problem as long as they've been produced. Long triggers are what makes them function. Most gun makers have built these DAO guns with heavy triggers as a safety feature. A shooter is much less likely to have an AD if the trigger is at 8 Lbs or more.

I've never heard of the 438 having issues with "Sticking" Where that comes from I don't know.
I did a Google search, and none of the comments I've found discussed this problem.

Timing issues are problem that have plagued revolvers as well. S&W's seem to have fewer timing problems than most other brands. Timing is governed by the design of the lockworks. It's a common complaint of guns made all over the world. Colt has much more troubles with timing than any S&W I've heard of. Colt Pythons and Diamondbacks are well known to have timing issues, and they need to be checked regularly to keep them in good running order.

I don't claim to have all the answers, or know of every problem that a gun has suffered from, but the 438 isn't exempt from problems simply because it's made by S&W. It's just another handgun that's made for self defense, nothing more and nothing less. Good, bad, or indifferent, it was made for a specific reason, and discontinued for whatever reasons S&W decided on as well.

Regards,
Gearchecker
 

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Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Starting pistol
The first thing to remember is that a manufacturer only gets to sell a gun one time. Some platforms like your Bodyguard 438 live on with both ancestors and descendants. Others fail or expire for various reasons.The maker is under pressure to maintain sales and contain costs, its that simple.
My 38-2 Airweight Bodyguard preceeds yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your positive comments. I was getting worried about my purchase, but now I feel better. I really like this Airweight a lot because of the option to fire single action, if needed. The grip feels great and it looks nice. I have not tested it yet, but will soon share the range report. At only 15.1 ounces, it is very easy to conceal. The cylinder and the barrel are made of stainless steel and the body is made of an aluminum alloy. I definitely feel very lucky with this purchase. I can't wait to test it at the range.


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A little review of the S&W438 by one of my favorite youtubers
 

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I can't wait to test it at the range.
Put on a pair of good quality gloves when you take it out. It's going to roll in your hand and kick like a small mule.
I have an Airweight revolver and it's by far my least favorite to get range time with. Even with standard .38 Spl loads it's a handful. Moviong up to +P it's even more uncomfortable and unruly to shoot.

This is a self defense gun, and it's not designed for a fun day at the range. Shoot it until you've had enough of it, and then switch to something fun to shoot. After a while, go back to it. The important part is to work for accuracy. If it takes 3 or 4, or possibly even a few more trips to the range, so be it. I've been shooting for decades, and my 340 M&P usually gets 2-3 cylinders full, and then I'm done with it. It took me a couple of range trips to get to the point I can put all 5 rounds in a 4" disc (7 yds.) And that's with .38 Special +P ammo. I can only get 6-8" groups with .357 magnum ammo, and then it's flat out brutal to shoot. I stick with the 38 ammo in it now.
I recommend starting with standard grade 158 grain bullets, and working up from there. This pistol is designed for 158 grain ammo and should imprint almost exactly where you aim it. Lighter bullets will place differently, usually higher on paper. Go to the S&W website to see if there are any ammo limits on your revolver. Some liteweights state not to use 115 or lighter bullet weighted ammo. Be sure and be safe.

Regards,
Gregory
 

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You might want to consider these grips as well. They're Hogue Recoil Tamers and they work very well. The Hogue item number is 60020.
At around $20 they're inxepensive and give a little more grip to hold onto. bovw is absolutely correct that right set of grips makes for better shooting and accuracy. Anything you can do to make this pistol shoot better for you is worth the expense.


Regards,
Gearchecker
 
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